There are some things that real estate agents care about, and some things that we don’t care about. I can’t speak for all agents, but people like me who sell real estate for a living don’t always see things the same way that the industry leaders and experts see them.
We don’t always agree with our Realtor boards or the National Association of Realtors.
Most of us don’t care if the data on third-party property websites is accurate. I know I don’t — why should I? I am not the "data police" for someone else’s website.
I am a salesperson, and if I get a call from a prospective buyer about a listing that I sold a month ago I can find another house to sell to that individual. It doesn’t hurt me at all if one of my listings shows up on a website long after it has been sold.
The existence of so many sites with homes for sale on them hurts my business, and manually updating listings takes time away from important tasks like selling houses. If the sites did not exist, consumers would just find my listings on a local brokerage site like my own.
There are many real estate sites in my market that get data fed to them from the area’s multiple listing service. In fact, I just Googled a listing that I have had on the market since Friday and it shows up on thousands of sites.
The way I see it, third parties need my listings for their websites, but I don’t need their websites for advertising, and consumers don’t need them, either.
It is in my best interest to have homes that I have listed for sale appear on numerous websites — even if they are no longer on the market. They are bait for me, just like they are for the companies that use them to sell advertising and services.
But it is against the MLS rules to have a home listed for sale that is not for sale, so I will correct an outdated listing once it is brought to my attention.
Sellers don’t seem to care if we continue to advertise their home after it has been sold, and the buyers don’t seem to notice, either — probably because they are no longer searching on the Internet for a home.
Some property site owners tell me they are doing consumers a favor by giving them alternative sites to search for property listings. I have also been told that consumers don’t trust industry sites and would prefer to go to third-party sources for information.
I don’t think most consumers know who owns their favorite real estate websites — they just want information.
On some days I feel like I am competing with the third-party companies and lead aggregators.
Even though those companies are not brokerages and they don’t sell real estate, they are sucking traffic away from my websites and blogs. Staying ahead in the search engines is a constant battle.
They are using my own listings to attract people to their sites so they can sell those people to real estate agents as leads, or so that they can sell advertising space to agents or others. It is a difficult proposition to help those sites if I find that they are not helping me.
It would be nice if there was more education for consumers about websites. Some of the sites do not have all the listings and some do not have accurate data. Some sites require consumers to sign up, but other sites let them look at the same data without signing up.
Maybe the people who sign up don’t know that they don’t have to share contact information just to look for a home. Consumers should be told that the prettiest site doesn’t always have the best data and that they don’t have to sign up to look at property listings.
If you are depending upon someone like me to make sure that the data on your site is accurate then you are in trouble. I am your worst nightmare because I don’t give much thought about your site or the data on it — not even if my name is attached.
I am motivated to make sure the information I put in the MLS is correct, because if I don’t and I get caught, I will be fined.
I don’t have any control over third-party sites, but if someone had asked me I would have said that we don’t need any more sites with real estate listings on them.
There is a point when listings become ubiquitous, and we reached that point years ago. If having them on many sites meant that they would sell faster, I would be in favor of more sites with property listings on them.